20200420 should Christians participate in religious activities with outsiders?

Monday Musings for April 20, 2020

Good morning, Musers,

Do you play well with others? That’s a sign of a well-adjusted child! But it could also mean that you are clueless about certain truths — and this would be entirely appropriate. Children should be clueless for a while. My prayer is that they will grow appropriately in knowledge... and that they will live lives as well adjusted adults, engaging with others openly and unabashedly.

But is that a reasonable expectation for a Christian? Are we free to engage with people who are known to have evil philosophies — philosophies connected to ungodly behavior? I ask because, if we choose not to engage these people, doesn’t that show a lack of love on our part? Don’t we have a “more excellent way” that needs sharing — and not doing so would be a sin of omission?

Welcome to the Christian life! On the one hand, we know that what we believe is true. After all, we have God’s word, we’ve had millennia to think about it, and we have the indwelling Holy Spirit. But on the other hand, there’s a whole world trying to pitch alternate truths... truths that often sound like our truth. So, how do we proceed through this morass? That’s today’s question.

I spend a good part of my day trying to determine what is true — but in the technical sense — the philosophical sense. This holds my feet to the fire. Since I know a lot of “extra” stuff, I’m responsible for that extra — both to live it and to teach it… and that makes me wonder if I should start looking for work in a body shop or something.

But dodging issues is not my thing. I have to look truth square in the eyes and decide how to proceed in life… and sometimes this gets me in “trouble” with the brethren — and more so as I get older. You see, as I have aged, I have turned more liberal — but I’m not talking about theology. I’m talking about behavior. I’ve become more tolerant of people who don’t think as I do.

I wish I could claim some high moral ground here, but my reasons are practical. First, I’m too tired to fight! But second, I see everyone as works-in-progress, and things in progress have the potential to travel from a morally lesser position to a morally greater position. Since people have the potential to “come around” eventually, why beat them up for not coming around yet? And third, I’ve come to realize that knowledge for knowledge’s sake is vanity.

Let’s say that I have the best possible answer on whether or not our future includes a Millennial Temple and sacrifices. What good would that knowledge do anyone if I refused to fellowship with them because they were amillennial? None! I would’ve taken myself out of the discussion. Well, things work the same way with the Gospel. If we don’t get our hands dirty with the very people that Christ died to save, then what good is any amount of knowledge?

Now, I am not arguing against growth in the knowledge of Christ or the knowledge of God’s word or the knowledge of creation. What I am arguing against is having an elitist attitude about the special kind of knowledge that we believers have… and when you spend all day thinking about things for a living, an elite attitude can rise out of the mist.

That being said, I feel I shared an honest perspective with today’s earnest seeker. Just note that I would probably have answered him differently forty years ago — and that’s proof of this musing’s concept!

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